After Sunday's energy-sapping test of willpower I took an unplanned day off for rest and recovery. It paid dividends; I set off today feeling fully recovered and keen to resume my task. There were steep hills to tackle right from the start, though I was rewarded by spectacular scenery including the stunning Durdle Door after only a mile and impressive chalk cliffs that included another natural arch.
From Whitenothe Cottages onwards the going got much easier as I gradually descended towards Weymouth. I loved the spot at Osmington Mills where the official Coast Path goes through the beer garden of the delightful 13th century Smugglers Inn.
After meeting Lea for lunch on Weymouth Esplanade I made my way through town to the 2 mile long causeway that connects Portland with the mainland. Soon before I crossed on the disused railway bed a series of storms blew in. Much like on Day 1 I was set to spend the rest of the afternoon being battered by strong winds and pulses of heavy rain, though the wind never got quite as severe as it had on Sunday. Unfortunately this meant my camera equipment needed to be stowed in a waterproof container inside my pack again, so few pictures were taken.
Portland is a bleak, grey island, yet still fascinating. Quarries and prisons seem to be the main industries around here. Big parts of the island are an endless series of abandoned quarries, you can clearly see where huge chunks of material have been removed over the centuries to be used for construction, including in many world-famous buildings. From the outside Verne Prison looks to be a particularly grim place, being housed inside an abandoned military barracks that was quite literally cut into the rock at the top of the island in the eighteenth century.
Coming around the south-east corner the going was quite tricky requiring clambering over loose rocks in abandoned quarries that were slippery when wet, so I slowed down to avoid the risk of an accident. I didn't see another long-distance walker on the island all afternoon, the conditions must have put everybody else off. After passing the lighthouse at Portland Bill the path back along the west side of Portland becomes much more direct and the going gets easier, though while on the west I was more exposed to the strong winds. Again there were diversions here due to rock falls.
After descending down the steep hill into Chiswell I opted against crossing the causeway again and called it a day. I'll leave form the same spot tomorrow, my intended destination West Bay. A dry day would be nice!
Distance Walked Today 26.85 miles (43.21 km)
Cumulative Distance Walked 56.91 miles (91.59 km)
GPS Track; https://www.strava.com/activities/533694966
Looking back towards Lulworth Cove on the
first big climb of the day
Durdle door, spectacular natural arch